Society’s image of a writer is this reclusive, tortured soul. And that somehow, some way, beauty will arise from the ashes. Writers are always depicted this way in television and movies; impossible to be great without battling demons and struggling under some type of mental illness.
As a writer who has battled anxiety for most of my life, I can say that it has no way improved my work. Rather, oftentimes I feel demotivated and uninspired. I can feel stifled and blocked.
Our work is so mentally and emotionally draining. It’s easy to fall into valleys of doubt and burnout. Once that happens, it’s hard to overcome and can prolong the writing process altogether.
However, I have learned a few things about living my best writing life, despite my struggles with anxiety. I want to share five ways you can learn to care for yourself as a writer.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Call Yourself a Writer.
If you are writing, you’re a writer. When someone asks you what you do, don’t hesitate to say that you’re a writer. It is just that simple. It’s not being published or having formal education that validates you as a writer. The fact that you have the desire; actively and consistently creating is all the validation you need. Own it!
2. Give Yourself Time to Write.
You’ll struggle with this one and often feel guilty about it. However, this guilt usually comes from a place of doubt and fear. You should never feel guilty for doing what you love. If writing is your passion, make time for it guilt free. Give yourself time to write and you won’t regret it.
3. Stop Caring About What Others Think
There are going to be people in your life who don’t understand your writing, or even why you’re doing it. They will think its not a profitable career, or it’s too time-consuming. It doesn’t mean that any of it is true. There will also be people who doubt you as a writer. The key is to stop caring what people think. Yes, it’s easier said than done. But you have to accept that you’re never going to please everyone. Instead, focus on creating. There are people out there who need what you have to say.
4. Take Breaks from Your Writing
The surest way to avoid writing burnout? Don’t write so hard and fast that you get burned out! That may seem really obvious, but so many writers still work themselves ragged. I’ve learned the hard way that you have to take pro-active breaks. Simply taking a day each week or a few days each month to rest and recharge makes all the difference.
5. Write What You Love
The key to caring for yourself as a writer truly lies in writing what you love; giving your love for writing the room to thrive and grow. After all, if you aren’t writing something you love, why are you writing in the first place? If you’re passionate about a story, a poem, blogging, etc., I promise you there will be readers who will love it, too. You’re not alone in what you love. So, don’t settle for writing anything less than what makes you happy.